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 Post subject: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:28 am 



Joined: 08 Oct 2018
Posts: 7
Guys,
Also posted over on SIG FM-Towns, but it's a bit quiet on there!

I have two FM Towns computers - A Fresh-TV (486 SX-33) and a Fresh-FT (486 DX4-100). These two systems are very similar, but in terms of video output have one difference. The Fresh-TV has a 15-Pin port labelled Analogue RGB and the Fresh-FT has a VGA port, also labelled Analogue RGB (I guess they used the same case mold).

Before getting these, I had assumed they would output (and switch) 15kHz and 31kHz video out the same port, like my X68000, and I would need a multi-sync monitor for this. This is where my assumption was proved incorrect. The Fresh-FT is the one I use mainly, and this only outputs a 31kHz image via a VGA monitor. It never displays 15kHz. I then figured that surely the Fresh-TV would do this, as it has the 15-Pin RGB port, but having made a cable up and plugging in my multi-sync monitor to that one, it also only outputs at 31kHz.

So, I am assuming this is because *all* FM Towns II (or at least the beige coloured ones) only output at 31kHz, and conversion for the older games is done internally. I know that on the Ving ports, if I select a different video mode in the options screen, it does not cause the monitor to try and switch mode (on New Zealands Story, LORES puts the image in a screen size like that of a Game Gear, and VIDEO makes the picture appear slightly blurry).

My basic question is this - How can I get 'real' RGB output (with scanlines!) on my FM Towns II computer? Is it possible if I source one of the video cards FMT-412A, FMT-412B or FMT-418, which all have RGB posts (along with S-Video/Composite) or do I have to get a card for the older system - the FMT-411 (would this even work on a model II?)

Don't get me wrong, playing Tatsujin Ou and the like on a Sony Trinitron CRT VGA monitor is nice, but it looks more like an emulated game, with no scanlines!

Anyone able to help me out with this one?
Thanks,
Paul


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:14 am 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 656
Yes. A Towns video card will restore 15 and 24khz output options. Just be aware of the cable differences, old Towns is RGBS while Fresh is RGBHV.


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:47 pm 



Joined: 08 Oct 2018
Posts: 7
Thanks for the reply SuperDeadite - I literally just won a FMT-412B card on Yahoo Actions with the help of a friend in Japan - I hope it's working as it's sold as junk... (and wasn't cheap!)

When you say about the cable differences, I'm assuming that as it's coming out of the card, I just need to make an adapter with the pinout for RGBHV, rather than RGBS, right?

I'll probably test the Composite first! Am I right in saying that Composite output from the card to a TV would give the same image as a Marty?


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 3:34 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 873
When you get it figured out, please can you post some pics?

The FM Towns is one of the few obscure consoles I never owned and I have always been a little curious. My understanding is that it's port of Super SF2 is one of the best.


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:36 am 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 656
cawley1 wrote:
Thanks for the reply SuperDeadite - I literally just won a FMT-412B card on Yahoo Actions with the help of a friend in Japan - I hope it's working as it's sold as junk... (and wasn't cheap!)

When you say about the cable differences, I'm assuming that as it's coming out of the card, I just need to make an adapter with the pinout for RGBHV, rather than RGBS, right?

I'll probably test the Composite first! Am I right in saying that Composite output from the card to a TV would give the same image as a Marty?


On a Fresh series, H and V Sync are on pins 14 and 15, just like NEC/Sharp. But on old Towns and that video card, pins 14 and 15 are not connected. It outputs CSync on Pin 7. Later Towns monitors are actually wired for both.

The Composite/S-video ports will only work when system is running in 15khz. So a low-res only game like Turbo Outrun will work. With 24/31 you will get a black screen. It is not a like a Marty at all.


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:00 am 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 656
Classicgamer wrote:
When you get it figured out, please can you post some pics?

The FM Towns is one of the few obscure consoles I never owned and I have always been a little curious. My understanding is that it's port of Super SF2 is one of the best.


SSF2 on Towns is crap. I think you are confused with the X68000 version.


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:54 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 873
SuperDeadite wrote:
Classicgamer wrote:
When you get it figured out, please can you post some pics?

The FM Towns is one of the few obscure consoles I never owned and I have always been a little curious. My understanding is that it's port of Super SF2 is one of the best.


SSF2 on Towns is crap. I think you are confused with the X68000 version.


I have never seen either except on YouTube and in passing at trade shows in the 90's.

I can only really make a judgement based on how they look instead of how they play....

Is the X68000 a different version or the same rom played on better hardware?


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:55 pm 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 656
Towns version runs very slowly. X68k version is almost perfect. The hardware between the two are totally different architectures.


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:21 pm 



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 873
SuperDeadite wrote:
Towns version runs very slowly. X68k version is almost perfect. The hardware between the two are totally different architectures.


But do they use different software?

My understanding of the FM towns is that it is essentially a PC running it's own operating system. And, just like on a PC, a game can run poorly on old or entry level hardware and well on the latest gaming PCs.


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:51 pm 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 656
Of course they run different software. X68000 uses Motorola 68000 CPU. Like a Mac or Amiga. Totally different code then a Towns which runs Intel x86.
And that is just CPU. They both use their own unique graphics and sound chips too.

Both X68k and Towns have unique versions of SSF2.

A Towns uses x86 CPU, but it is not a PC. It runs TownsOS. DOS and Windows are supported but they are unique versions that run on top of TownsOS.

Anyway, Towns SSF2 sucks. Even on a Pentium Towns, it runs like garbage.


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:06 pm 



Joined: 19 Jul 2017
Posts: 1692
SuperDeadite wrote:
A Towns uses x86 CPU, but it is not a PC. It runs TownsOS. DOS and Windows are supported but they are unique versions that run on top of TownsOS.

The fact that the Towns is literally x86 hardware means it's a PC. It probably wouldn't be that difficult (relatively speaking) to get TownsOS to run on more modern x86/x86-compatible hardware, although you might need FPGA reimplementations of the GPU and sound chips (which could get you line-doubling/scaling and HDMI output!); same probably goes for getting TownsOS running in something like VirtualBox or QEMU.


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:08 am 



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Posts: 656
Towns isn't a PC compatible, therefore it is not a PC. NEC PC-98 series is Intel, and also not a PC. The hardware is setup differently.

Though, the UNZ Emulater is basically just one big hack of TownsOS at it's core.


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:38 pm 



Joined: 08 Oct 2018
Posts: 7
SuperDeadite wrote:
cawley1 wrote:
Thanks for the reply SuperDeadite - I literally just won a FMT-412B card on Yahoo Actions with the help of a friend in Japan - I hope it's working as it's sold as junk... (and wasn't cheap!)

When you say about the cable differences, I'm assuming that as it's coming out of the card, I just need to make an adapter with the pinout for RGBHV, rather than RGBS, right?

I'll probably test the Composite first! Am I right in saying that Composite output from the card to a TV would give the same image as a Marty?


On a Fresh series, H and V Sync are on pins 14 and 15, just like NEC/Sharp. But on old Towns and that video card, pins 14 and 15 are not connected. It outputs CSync on Pin 7. Later Towns monitors are actually wired for both.

The Composite/S-video ports will only work when system is running in 15khz. So a low-res only game like Turbo Outrun will work. With 24/31 you will get a black screen. It is not a like a Marty at all.


Hi all,
The video card has arrived today - I installed it and used the included composite adapter to run it on my Sony CRT TV, and it displayed Composite fine, as expected.

However, I can't get it to work on my Taxan 770 Plus LR, though. I opened up the 15-Pin RGB to VGA connector I made previously, and put the wire for Pin 14 to Pin 7, and disconnected Pin 15, and it does not work. I see the FM Towns logo on power on for a second (and it's rolling), then a black screen. Bear in mind this monitor is multi-sync and works on 15kHz, 24kHz and 31kHz on my X68000.

It worked fine previously, when I had it connected to the 15-Pin RGB out of my Fresh-TV, so is it my monitor? Do I actually need to wire it back with Pin 14 and 15 connected, or will this destroy my video card?

I also have my Sony VGA CRT connected to the VGA socket on the back, and it displays the usual image fine, so I know it's not that (as someone asked before - is it OK to have two monitors connected at the same time?) I obviously unplugged it to see if it made any difference to the other screen, and it didn't.

SuperDeadite or anyone else - any ideas?
Thanks,
Paul

EDIT - Had a play with this cable, and no joy - I am wondering if it's because the Taxan 770 Plus LR is a CGA/EGA monitor, and from a look at this pinout, these don't have Csync, just Hsync and Vsync.
The monitor came with a VGA adapter which is what I use with X68000, Amiga and Falcon, and all of these work, but I guess it's because they all use Hsync and Vsync!

How the hell do I go about getting this to display on my nice multisync monitor???


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 Post subject: Re: FM Towns II Video Output Questions
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 10:17 pm 


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Joined: 05 Mar 2018
Posts: 1135
cawley1 wrote:
SuperDeadite wrote:
cawley1 wrote:
Thanks for the reply SuperDeadite - I literally just won a FMT-412B card on Yahoo Actions with the help of a friend in Japan - I hope it's working as it's sold as junk... (and wasn't cheap!)

When you say about the cable differences, I'm assuming that as it's coming out of the card, I just need to make an adapter with the pinout for RGBHV, rather than RGBS, right?

I'll probably test the Composite first! Am I right in saying that Composite output from the card to a TV would give the same image as a Marty?


On a Fresh series, H and V Sync are on pins 14 and 15, just like NEC/Sharp. But on old Towns and that video card, pins 14 and 15 are not connected. It outputs CSync on Pin 7. Later Towns monitors are actually wired for both.

The Composite/S-video ports will only work when system is running in 15khz. So a low-res only game like Turbo Outrun will work. With 24/31 you will get a black screen. It is not a like a Marty at all.


Hi all,
The video card has arrived today - I installed it and used the included composite adapter to run it on my Sony CRT TV, and it displayed Composite fine, as expected.

However, I can't get it to work on my Taxan 770 Plus LR, though. I opened up the 15-Pin RGB to VGA connector I made previously, and put the wire for Pin 14 to Pin 7, and disconnected Pin 15, and it does not work. I see the FM Towns logo on power on for a second (and it's rolling), then a black screen. Bear in mind this monitor is multi-sync and works on 15kHz, 24kHz and 31kHz on my X68000.

It worked fine previously, when I had it connected to the 15-Pin RGB out of my Fresh-TV, so is it my monitor? Do I actually need to wire it back with Pin 14 and 15 connected, or will this destroy my video card?

I also have my Sony VGA CRT connected to the VGA socket on the back, and it displays the usual image fine, so I know it's not that (as someone asked before - is it OK to have two monitors connected at the same time?) I obviously unplugged it to see if it made any difference to the other screen, and it didn't.

SuperDeadite or anyone else - any ideas?
Thanks,
Paul

EDIT - Had a play with this cable, and no joy - I am wondering if it's because the Taxan 770 Plus LR is a CGA/EGA monitor, and from a look at this pinout, these don't have Csync, just Hsync and Vsync.
The monitor came with a VGA adapter which is what I use with X68000, Amiga and Falcon, and all of these work, but I guess it's because they all use Hsync and Vsync!

How the hell do I go about getting this to display on my nice multisync monitor???

you could try a sync strike - it should work if that Taxan display will tolerate csync as hsync

otherwise you would need to spin up a board based around an LMH1981 sync separator, for which there is no COTS sync strike type device I'm aware of


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